13) Happy New Year to any Chinese friends we may have reading this: 2019 is Year of the Pig. This is from chinesenewyear.net:
“The Pig is the twelfth of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. Pig was late because he overslept. Another story says that a wolf destroyed his house. He had to rebuild his home before he could set off. When he arrived, he was the last one and could only take twelfth place.”
12) Looks like the bubble for the Field of 68 in March isn’t going to be very strong; Indiana just lost seven games in a row, and they’re still hanging on to one of the play-in spots.
Nebraska has been awful recently, losing their last five games; they’re 3-8 in the Big 14 and they’re not even listed as a 10-seed, not even a play-in team. They’re not a good team.
St John’s lost five of its last eight games, losing by 30 at Duke, but they’re an 11-seed.
A lot of this will play itself out, but the quality of college basketball has dropped a lot the last few years— just not as many real good teams, even with the big boys poaching role players from low major schools. Too many kids leave school early, hoping to get to the NBA, but they wind up in the G-League or in Europe. Staying in school would help them, and would help college ball.
11) Washington is the best team in the Pac-12; right now, they’re listed as an 8-seed, which means they probably don’t get out of the first weekend, if they even win a game. The Pac-12 is having a terrible season, in large part because they have a ton of inexperienced players.
10) Washington Wizards’ star John Wall ruptured an achilles tendon, is out for a year; he last played Dec 26, had one procedure Jan 8 for a lesser achilles injury, then fell in his home and thats when his achilles tendon ruptured.
Wall has four years left on his contract after this year; he is scheduled to make $169.2M during those four years. No pressure on the surgeon who fixes his Achilles.
9) Michigan State loses G Joshua Langford for the season with an ankle injury; he was averaging 28.6 mpg, scoring 15.0 ppg, 2.3 assists/game and 3.6 rebounds/game. Spartans lost their last three games, at Purdue, Illinois and at home to Indiana, after an 18-1 start.
8) Eagles put the franchise tag on Nick Foles, in hopes of getting a 3rd-round draft pick in a trade for him, but then Foles negated that option by saying he’d pay Philly $2M to become a free agent.
There are several teams who need a quarterback.
7) Tennessee is #1 in country in basketball, but the last time Tennessee won the SEC basketball tournament was 1979; ten other schools have won the SEC tourney since then.
6) Why did Texas dump Rick Barnes? Longhorns are 16-29 in Big X games the last three years, and don’t play the “havoc” style that made Shaka Smart’s VCU teams successful. Smart seems out of place at Texas; at VCU, he out-recruited his league and pressed successfully.
Barnes is 31-15 in SEC games the last three years at Tennessee.
5) Right now, Cal-Irvine and Stony Brook are the only two college basketball teams with ten road wins this season.
4) NBA teams with worst records vs spread on second night of back/backs:
Celtics 0-7, Nets 1-9, Kings 2-8, 76ers 2-6
NBA teams with best records vs spread on second night of back/backs:
Raptors 7-2, Wizards 6-2, Hornets 5-2, Nuggets 5-2-1
3) The new AAF that starts this weekend has no kickoffs, and teams that score TD’s have to go for 2 points every time- no PAT’s. No TV timeouts; games are expected to last 2:30 at most.
2) Odd fact: Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts have played in four Super Bowls, all of which were played in Miami. Next year’s Super Bowl is in Miami.
1) Sports Illustrated throws a party the night before the Super Bowl every year; saw a clip on Twitter of this year’s party, where Snoop Dawg was talking to Urban Meyer for a couple minutes. Would’ve been fun to listen in on that; talk about worlds colliding. Snoop does know his football, though.